Raiding Area 51

Poipole Lock and Keldeo-GX/Vaporeon-GX Stall from Worlds, Updated
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Busting in for busted decks.

Hello everyone, today I’m back with an article on my 2019 World Championships deck, Keldeo-GX/Vaporeon-GX, and some more Stall shenanigans. The week leading up to the World Championships was wild. A couple of new ideas came to the forefront and totally flipped my deck choices for Worlds.

Keldeo-GX/Vaporeon-GX Stall

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I dropped an article on ReshiBlowns and PikaRom the week of Worlds and I was set on playing one of those decks. However, Tuesday evening (the day before I flew out to Washington, DC) I was presented with an idea from my testing group featuring Vaporeon-GX. With knowledge of some preexisting healing Stall archetypes out there which were less consistent, I immediately knew that this idea had potential. After work, I headed to three local card shops, called several GameStops, and even reached out to some vendors that I thought would be at the World Championships in hopes to get 4 Eevee-GX and 4 Vaporeon-GX in order to play the deck. None of the stores or vendors I reached out to had any. In the end, one of my friends was able to snag 3 Vaporeon-GX Special Collection boxes for me and I placed an order on Amazon for the 4th to be delivered to my Airbnb in Washington, DC. Wild, right?

After beginning testing of the deck, we quickly found its ability to heal and stall out the game was extremely powerful. There were several matchups that needed to be tech’d for, such as ReshiZard and PikaRom because of their ability to bypass Keldeo-GX’s Pure Heart via Power Plant or non-GX attackers. So we inserted a 3-3 Bronzong TEU line and 2 Wobbuffet LOT to deal with them. With the Big Two dealt with, we moved onto other matchups. Malamar was a free win if their deck played no gust effects; just set up 3 to 4 Vaporeon-GX and Giratina LOT deals more damage to itself than your board after healing.

With our limited time and essentially what we believed to be the top three most popular archetypes accounted for, we settled on the following list:

The Initial List

Pokémon (24)

3 Keldeo-GX

4 Eevee-GX

4 Vaporeon-GX

3 Bronzor TEU

3 Bronzong TEU

1 Ditto p

1 Persian TEU

2 Wobbuffet LOT

2 Munchlax UNM

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (30)

4 Steven’s Resolve

3 Lusamine

2 Gardenia

1 Faba

1 Koga’s Trap

1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Cherish Ball

4 Great Potion

4 Pokégear 3.0

3 Pokémon Communication

1 Switch Raft

 

2 Sky Pillar

Energy (6)

4 Unit Energy GRW

1 G

1 W

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 24

* 3 Keldeo-GX UNM 47
* 4 Eevee-GX PR-SM 175
* 4 Vaporeon-GX PR-SM 172
* 3 Bronzor TEU 100
* 3 Bronzong TEU 101
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Persian TEU 126
* 2 Wobbuffet LOT 93
* 2 Munchlax UNM 173
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 4 Steven’s Resolve CES 145
* 3 Lusamine CIN 96
* 2 Gardenia UPR 124
* 1 Tate & Liza CES 148
* 1 Koga’s Trap UNB 177
* 1 Faba LOT 173
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 4 Great Potion UNM 198
* 1 Switch Raft DRM 62
* 2 Sky Pillar CES 144

##Energy - 6

* 4 Unit Energy GRW UPR 137
* 1 G Energy SMEnergy 10
* 1 W Energy SMEnergy 3

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74726 ******

Several interesting cards made the final cut, such as Koga’s Trap, which ended up being one of the most impactful cards during my games, and Swift Raft, which was incredible card in this deck at just a 1-card slot and not playing more was a huge oversight. Persian TEU was added in order to deal with consecutive gusting options via the Make ‘Em Pay attack. If players tried to execute a draw–pass strategy until they amassed a powerful hand to deal with our Keldeo-GXs, we could use that attack and discard vital resources from their hand.

Because of the limited amount of time we had to perfect the list, there were a few key points we missed on:

  1. Gardenia was lackluster and I used it exactly zero times throughout my six rounds in Day 1.
  2. Switch Raft should have been a 4-of. I actually did not even have access to 4 of them, which speaks to the chaotic nature of this deck’s birth.

Here’s a quick overview of my Day 1:

Tournament Recap

R1 vs. Malamar/Ultra Necrozma w/ 4 Custom Catcher + Reset Stamp
LL. This is a poor matchup. The ability to gust and KO my Vaporeon-GXs was too much pressure. (0-1-0)

R2 vs. Malamar/Giratina
WW. My opponent scooped the set after I played down 4 copies of Vaporeon-GX. (1-1-0)

R3 vs. Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX
WW. I survived Magical Miracle-GX to a 0-card hand with a Steven’s Resolve topdeck and won comfortably. (2-1-0)

R4 vs. Gengar & Mimikyu-GX/Omastar
WW. I was able to run my opponent out of Power Plant and MimiGar could no longer attack me. (3-1-0)

R5 vs. Shedinja Stall
WW. My opponent scooped the set after I used Faba on his Energy. (4-1-0)

R6 vs. PikaRom (on stream against Paolo Mimoso)
LL. Key misplays on my part in the early game led to an easy win into a bad loss. (4-2-0)

R7 vs. PikaRom
LL. I lost in 5 minutes due to draw–pass and near perfect draws from my opponent. Tournament over. (4-3-0)

As I mentioned before, there were oversights, mainly because of the lack of time I had to perfect a list. Here is the list I thought I should have played after Round 7 concluded and I dropped from the event:

The Updated List

Pokémon (23)

4 Keldeo-GX

4 Eevee-GX

4 Vaporeon-GX

3 Bronzor TEU

3 Bronzong TEU

1 Ditto p

2 Wobbuffet LOT

1 Munchlax UNM

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (33)

4 Steven’s Resolve

3 Lusamine

1 Faba

1 Koga’s Trap

1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Cherish Ball

4 Great Potion

4 Pokégear 3.0

4 Switch Raft

3 Pokémon Communication

 

2 Counter Gain

 

2 Sky Pillar

Energy (4)

4 W

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 23

* 4 Keldeo-GX UNM 47
* 4 Eevee-GX PR-SM 175
* 4 Vaporeon-GX PR-SM 172
* 3 Bronzor TEU 100
* 3 Bronzong TEU 101
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 2 Wobbuffet LOT 93
* 1 Munchlax UNM 173
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 2 Counter Gain LOT 170
* 4 Steven’s Resolve CES 145
* 3 Lusamine CIN 96
* 1 Tate & Liza CES 148
* 1 Koga’s Trap UNB 177
* 1 Faba LOT 173
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 4 Great Potion UNM 198
* 4 Switch Raft DRM 62
* 2 Sky Pillar CES 144

##Energy - 4

* 4 W Energy Energy 3

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74726 ******

4 Switch Raft

Not only is this a helpful pivoting option, it heals 30 damage. This versatility was huge. I used the 1 copy in my original list every single game. The ability to swap out Keldeo-GX for a turn in order to achieve additional healing by waiting a turn was so powerful. This was one of the things I wasn’t upset about not playing as I didn’t even own a single copy of Switch Raft, and one of my friends happened to have one I could use.

2 Counter Gain

I’m not sure why this card never made it to the original list, but it was missed. There are games where attacking is key and having the option to use Counter Gain to gain two attachments for the turn would have been powerful. I encountered several scenarios where having a single Energy attached to a Keldeo-GX was a huge threat to my opponent…if I had access to Counter Gain. You could watch my streamed Round 6 match vs. Paolo Mimoso and see that there were several turns where if I had Counter Gain, the games would have played out differently.

0 Gardenia

As you may have noticed, Gardenia was cut entirely. I used Gardenia exactly zero times. There was never a scenario where the card would have progressed my game state or win conditions. The problem with Gardenia—and this is probably the biggest oversight when building the list—was that the card does not affect the game in a meaningful way because it is your Supporter for the turn. It simply progresses the game state an additional turn, which gives your opponent more time to find answers to your lock. The addition of 4 Switch Raft makes Gardenia useless.

1 Munchlax UNM

Simply put, the 2nd Munchlax was a luxury and not a necessity. It was the most impactful card in the entire list, which is why I included a 2nd copy initially. The ability to retrieve any card from your discard pile is incredibly strong.

0 Persian TEU

Persian was not worth it in the long run as having to evolve it from Ditto p made it inconsistent. And even though I was able to use it a couple of times during the event, it was never game-breaking.

4 Keldeo-GX

The 4th copy of Keldeo-GX was cut in initial testing; however, I found myself in scenarios where my 3rd copy was prized, the first two were Knocked Out, and I wanted a 4th copy to stabilize the game. Keldeo is also your best blind starter (otherwise it is Munchlax because of its free retreat), so having max outs to starting it is good.

Poipole Lock (or, Degeneracy)

The idea of using knockout Reviver on Poipole FLI to prevent your opponent from taking Prizes is not a new one. There was a Fairy-based deck aimed around doing just that a couple of formats ago. The deck was not all that good though because it required an immense setup with multiple Fairy Pokémon. Needless to say, I am not the originator of this idea and we did see a couple of players, such as Phinnegan Lynch, play this deck at Worlds.

Leading up to Worlds, my friends and I had tested an engine focused around using Naganadel-GX to draw cards and knockout Reviver infinitely via Brock’s Grit. However, it proved to be too reliant on Ultra Conversion and was limited by other factors such as utilizing Poipole to evolve instead of just attacking.

During Day 1 I was proposed the idea of abandoning the Ultra Conversion engine and shown a list featuring a strictly Malamar-based engine. Immediately I thought I could break the deck and make it consistent. Because I was still playing in Day 1, I could not shift my focus on the deck, but I kept it in the back of my mind. The already chaotic weekend turned more chaotic.

Resolving the Engine

After I failed to qualify for Day 2, I headed back to my room and immediately started playing with the list I was shown. The deck was still inconsistent; however, it gave me vibes of Stall, so I immediately threw in Stall engine cards such as Steven’s Resolve and Bill’s Analysis. The impact was immediate and apparent. The deck had such a strong mid game that sacrificing a Prize or two early to use Steven’s Resolve worth it. I settled on a list and decided to hang out with friends. During conversation, I learned the DC Open was two days long and that I’d have to play Rounds 8 and 9 on Sunday, which I was not a fan of. I backed out of playing in the Open and was content to hang out with friends for the rest of the weekend. I posted my then completed list on Twitter. Although the list was not perfect, I would have played it for Day 2 or the Open as I thought the overall concept and strategy were incredibly powerful.

Here Comes Trouble…

Fast forward a few weekends and we have a new set, Hidden Fates, which released a powerful Supporter, Jessie & James. I believe that this card helps the deck achieve its deckout win condition extremely efficiently. Here is the list I’m currently on and will continue to work on in the following weeks leading up to Atlantic City. (Side Note: Jessie & James is legal the first weekend of September, and it might make a splash at League Cups.)

Current List

Pokémon (19)

4 Poipole FLI

4 Inkay FLI

3 Malamar FLI

4 Jirachi SM161

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Girafarig LOT

1 Giratina LOT

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (33)

4 Cynthia

3 Brock’s Grit

3 Lusamine

2 Bill’s Analysis

2 Jessie & James

2 Steven’s Resolve

 

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Pokémon Communication

1 Beast Ball

 

3 Escape Board

 

4 Ultra Space

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (8)

6 P

2 Recycle

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Poipole FLI 55
* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 3 Malamar FLI 51
* 4 Jirachi PR-SM 161
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Girafarig LOT 94
* 1 Giratina LOT 97
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Brock’s Grit TEU 135
* 3 Lusamine CIN 96
* 2 Bill’s Analysis TEU 133
* 2 Steven’s Resolve CES 145
* 2 Jessie & James HIF 58
* 4 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 3 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 1 Beast Ball CES 125

##Energy - 8

* 6 P Energy Energy 5
* 2 Recycle Energy UNM 212

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74726 ******

The Strategy

The overall concept of the deck is simple: use knockout Reviver while recycling your Poipoles with Brock’s Grit and milling your opponent with Jessie & James.

Here is the infinite loop you want to achieve:

  • Step #1: Draw your entire deck. This is not something you can do early game, but during the late game, when your opponent has exhausted all of their disruptive resources, they can no longer stop your loop.
  • Step #2: Your discard pile must contain exactly 1 P Energy and only Poipoles. Through the use of Brock’s Grit, you will eventually recover all of your P Energy and Pokémon. (I’ll explain why this is key later.)

Once you have achieved these two conditions, you essentially have an infinite loop and several “burn turns” where you can Brock’s Grit, Lusamine loop, and Jessie & James your opponent. Because of Recycle Energy, you only need to Psychic Recharge once per turn, and because Brock’s Grit is a necessary recovery of 6 (in any combination) of Pokémon and basic Energy, your ideal discard pile will contain exactly 3 Poipole and 1 P Energy. You will then achieve your infinite loop by playing down Viridian Forest.

Because your deck contains no cards, your Brock’s Grit will recycle 1 P Energy and 3 Poipole. Viridian Forest lets you discard any card from your hand (i.e., a P Energy) to fetch the recovered P Energy, and then your deck contains 3 Poipoles.

This guarantees you an attack every turn and gives you three “burn turns” to do whatever you want, like use:

  • Lusamine for Lusamine and another Supporter/Stadium,
  • Jessie & James (but avoid disrupting your infinite loop by only discard recyclable cards, such as Stadiums, Supporters, or dead cards late game), and
  • Brock’s Grit to recycle your loop.

Inevitably, your opponent will deck out and you will win the game. This strategy takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and as such, I do not recommend this deck for best-of-1 formats.

Shortcomings

In its current iteration, this deck loses to Ability ReshiZard, a popular archetype. The use of Ninetales TEU continuously, and almost infinitely, spells disaster for this deck. There are, however, counters to this. Solrock CES and Lunatone CES (when on the Bench simultaneously) shut off the Abilities of non-GX/EX R Pokémon, such as Ninetales. I’m not a huge fan of committing 2 Bench slots, so I have chosen to not include the duo in my list. I will be trying to find other strategies to beat Ability ReshiZard that require less commitment.

As with all Stall decks, there is an answer to everything. The questions are (1) can you reliably use that answer and (2) does it negatively impact the success of the deck? Sometimes it’s better to take an auto-loss than to make your matchups against everything else worse in hopes of beating your auto-loss.

Conclusion

I hope you guys enjoyed this article. I had a great time at Worlds regardless of my poor showing. At the end of the day, I did not regret my deck choice but rather how little preparation I had with the deck. I will be taking part in less Regionals in the 2019–20 season because of Worlds being in London, but I will still be involved in the game. I’ll be at three of the early Regionals (Atlantic City, Portland, and Richmond) as well as Albany (in New York, my home state) and I will probably be at San Diego 🇺🇸 too since I love California. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment or message me on Twitter @PeterJoltik.


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